This weekly planning strategy is based on Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “THE 7 HABITS” is a Registered Trademark of Franklin Covey Co. This post is in not associated with nor endorsed by Franklin Covey Co.
What is “Balance”
I don’t like the term “Work/Life” balance because it implies that there are only two areas of importance: Work and Life. The reality for most of us is that “Life” is actually composed of several important roles: Parenting, Homeownership, Friendships, Community, “Me” time, etc….
Most of us already spend at least half our waking hours at work. This does not leave much time for the other important areas in your life.
How I Plan My Week
Every week (on Saturday or Sunday morning) I go through the following ritual to plan the coming week:
1. Review your Personal Mission Statement
Although not absolutely necessary to begin, a personal mission statement gives you guidance and is a reminder of what is important to you. If you don’t already have one, take some time to write one. Every week review your mission statement and update it as necessary.
My Personal Mission Statement:
To find happiness, fulfillment, and value in living I will strive to:
- Make a positive difference in the lives of others;
- Spend more quality time with friends and family;
- Simplify my life; work less; have more “perfect days”; and keep an open mind;
- Do great things; strive for excellence; and inspire others.
- Apologize sincerely when necessary.
- Remember that life is short; be grateful; relax and enjoy the moment; Memento Mori.
2. Identify & Review your Roles
Achieving “balance in life” isn’t about getting a 50/50 balance between “work” and “life”. You play many more than just 2 roles in life. You should devote time to all the roles you play: Individual, Father, Husband, Friend, Employee, Homeowner, Artist, World Traveler, Adventurer, etc…
You should Identify all the roles you play in your life that you would like to devote more time to. Ideally you should have somewhere between 4 -8 roles identified. Each week you will make an effort to spend a little bit of time in each role.
- Father / Husband
- Family Member (son, brother, cousin)
- Employee / Entrepreneur
Every week review this list of roles to ensure that they are current. Sometimes I consolidate two roles into a single one, or split up a role into two. (I previously had the role of “Artist” listed, but decided to merge it into the “Individual” role). It is important that these roles are aligned with what is important to you.
3. Identify and Review your longterm Goals
For each of your roles, define some long term goals. What are some big picture goals that would make a tremendous difference if you accomplish them? Ideally they are specific and not vague. Each week you should spend a little bit of time getting closer to those goals, by completing tasks that little by little get you closer to your final destination.
Review these goals weekly to make sure they are still aligned with what is important to you. Ideally, most of the things you do an a day-to-day or weekly basis should get you closer to one of your goals.
Some of my Goals :
- Individual: Resume Painting; Climb Mt. Kilamanjaro; Visit the Pyramids of Giza.
- Father / Husband: Weekly date night; 10 year anniversary trip; Build swing set;
- Family: Help my father lose 50lbs; Yearly cottage trip;
- Friend: Help my friends identify and complete their goals;
- Homeowner: Renovate garage; Build a pool;
4. Identify Weekly tasks
For each of your ROLES (indentified in #2 above) identify some tasks that get you closer to one of your GOALS. Identify at least 1 task per role, but avoid trying to do too much — I usually cap it at 3 tasks per role maximum.
- Individual: (1) Research VISA requirements for travel to Kenya; (2) Research recommended training regiment for Mt. Kilamanjaro climb; (3) Research estimated costs for trip;
- Father / Husband: (1) Buy flowers for wife; (2) Spend 1-on-1 time with daughter; (3) Start budget/savings plan for 10 year anniversary trip;
- Family: (1) Visit my father weekly (and call daily) to make sure he is following his Slow Carb Diet.
- Homeowner: (1) Look at municipal setback regulations for stone wall/barrier; (2) Fall cleanup / maintenance
5. Personal Renewal
In addition to the tasks/roles above you should also devote some time to “personal renewal”: Physical, Mental , Social, and Spiritual. Identify 1-3 tasks for each one of these areas each week.
- Physical: Gym x2; Run x3; Nutrition
- Mental: Learn a new Language; Read a book
- Spritual: Go for a solo Hike; Play Guitar; Meditate; Review mission statement, roles, & goals.
- Social: Attend Networking Event; Go out for lunch with co-workers
5. Schedule your activities
Using a calendar, task list, or other time management tool, schedule all of your activities and try to do them all.
I have built a free iOS app to help with your weekly planning:
DISCLAIMER This app is in no way associated with nor endorsed by Franklin Covey Co.